Can a woman have a penis?

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Politicians such as Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson have said “yes, a woman can have a penis”, in a manner of speaking.

The question has exploded across British media which is, quite frankly, obsessed with transgender people to a scary degree. We are now at the shouting about genitals on mainstream television part of the “debate” with people like Wes Streeting being pressed on the issue for the views. But what if I told you the debate had already been settled?

That’s right! In 2004 the UK brought in the Gender Recognition Act, also known as the GRA. This happened because the at-the-time Labour Government opposed bringing in a GRA and were sued by a bus driver called Christine Goodwin. This forced their hand and I guess they figured in for a penny in for a pound and ended up bringing in one of the most ahead of it’s time forms of trans recognition across the planet.

Specifically, it was viewed as such because it did not require any medical intervention. It respected bodily autonomy! You could and can still obtain a new birth certificate without ever desiring hormones and surgery. Sure, you are still subject to the intrusive Gender Recognition Panel’s whims, about to be set back a bunch of cash you probably couldn’t afford, gatekept by a crap healthcare system to hell and have no non-binary options at all. But theoretically, its totally possible to be a woman with a penis, by law.

So when politicians are praising the GRA for being so ahead of its time, so revolutionary and amazing; they are praising the fact that a woman can have a penis. Either that or they are just repeating rhetoric they’ve been trained to say, but don’t actually understand.

Politicians who have praised the GRA in this manner include both Starmer and Johnson. Johnson even praised it moments before saying the exact opposite, amazingly. So what’s the difficulty with saying it? Why are they happy to praise the legislation, but not the people the legislation was designed to support? We’re human beings, not some sort of political gotcha! nonsense for Government to mess around with. If you can’t just say some women have a penis and own that; don’t bother praising the GRA. Don’t pretend you care.

I am still a big supporter of repealing sex recognition altogether. I don’t think our Government’s can be trusted with such information and have proved time and time again they will use it for nefarious purposes. Even if The Government who brought in the GRA initially were the bestest angels ever, we can’t count on the next Government following suit. It’s dangerous to give a list of trans people to fascsists.

But in the mean time, politicians need to grow up and stop letting the media bully them into cowardice. The trans community want someone willing to stand by us and say “yes, a woman can have a penis” and own that. If that’s not you, don’t bother leafletting my house next election season. I am not interested.

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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